Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Implementing Strategy Through Employees

Recently we have been involved with several companies that are changing their business strategy.  Whether it is to become more competitive in a once monopoloy like industry by becoming customer focused or if the desire is big growth plans, the bottom line is you depend on employees to switch gears.

The strategy development piece is almost the easiest piece.  You get all the executives in a room for a few days and the new direction is decided.

The hard part is implementing the decision.  Execution is where I think HR can really add value to the organization regarding strategy.  Of course, HR was involved in the strategic planning discussions so that plans can be proactive in nature rather than reactive. 
I think the execution piece is challenging, we have all heard that the best strategies fail due to poor or LACK OF execution.

Listen below to my conversation with Nancy Vepraskas, SPHR regarding how to execute on a customer service strategy.  She uses an effective sports analogy to simplify a sometimes vague concept making it very understandable. (This was an interview conducted outside at a Starbuck's so please excuse the background noise!)



Nancy reminds us that we need to:

1) Make sure employees understand where the company is headed
2) Make sure employees have and understand the skill sets needed for the new strategy if those have changed (look at gaps)
3) Have conversations instead of communication around goals, progress, and performance and do that continuously.
4) Use easy to understand goals that allows employees to know "when they may be losing ground" so they can get back on track. 
5) Understand what excellent customer service looks like in your organization from the customer's perspective. 

What is your experience in this area when changing strategies?  What has worked for your organization?
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